From botanicals & florals to amped up hot sauce to nostalgic comebacks – which pandemic trends have staying power?

At the same time, many Americans turned inwards – searching for familiar and comforting flavors that prompted brands to bring back old favorites and combine nostalgic and modern flavors in unique mash-ups, according to trend-spotters at the Institute of Food Technologists’ Food Technology magazine.

While not all the trends that emerged during the pandemic will have lasting power, IFT leaders predict these will:

Bold botanicals and delicate florals​ – During the pandemic many consumers embraced botanicals prized for traditional ayurvedic health benefits, such as turmeric and elderberry – inspiring brands to incorporate these ingredients in new ways.

For example, turmeric which was gaining momentum even before the pandemic, appeared in products ranging from breakfast cereal, such as Nature’s Path Golden Turmeric Superfood Oatmeal cups, to beverages, like Starbucks’ Coffee with Golden Turmeric and Bigelow’s Matcha Green Tea with Turmeric, to center of the plate options, like Ronzoni’s turmeric pasta.

Consumers also embraced lighter floral flavors – branching away from old standbys like rose, to include violet and an increasingly popular cherry blossom. The later appeared in Steve’s Chocolate Cherry Blossom ice cream, AB InBev’s Hoegaarden brand and paired with matcha for a seasonal Pocky.

Elderberry also shot to the top during the pandemic for its perceived health benefits.

While not a botanical, the bright, citrusy flavor of yuzu also gained traction during the pandemic, appearing in beverages alongside more familiar fruits, like pear, and Unilever’s Knorr line of Professional Intense flavors. As in both of these examples, the fruit is often paired with complementary flavors and ingredients because it doesn’t have much juice – making it a more premium ingredient.

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